Will add-on / MON 4-15-13 / Laudatory tributes upon someone's passing / Medicinal plant / Body of water east of Dublin / Big name in hotels crackers

Monday, April 15, 2013

Constructor: Gayle Dean

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: bunch of Yiddish words starting SCH- 

Word of the Day: CODICIL (12D: Will add-on) —
  1. Law. A supplement or appendix to a will.
  2. A supplement or appendix.
[Middle English, from Old French codicille, from Latin cōdicillus, diminutive of cōdex, cōdic-, codex. See codex.]
• • •

Felt very easy, but I guess those big corners added some work/contemplation time, because my time was perfectly normal for a Monday. Can't say that I think much of the theme, but I'm guessing most will find it pleasant enough for a Monday. My main problem here is the fill—it's not bad, it's just ... blah. Nondescript. Ancient. This puzzle's word list is 100% Grade A Pre-Shortz fare. Not a single aspect of this puzzle suggests it was written in this millennium. When did "Deliverance" come out? (47A: Beatty of "Deliverance" = NED) 'Cause the puzzle could just as easily be from then as from today. But even then, "Deliverance" comes from the clue, not the answer. There's nothing living or breathing in the grid. No pop culture, or culture at all (post-MANET) (53D: French artist who painted "The Absinthe Drinker"). There is, however, archaic nonsense like EULOGIA (I groaned audibly at that one, ugh) (44D: Laudatory tributes upon someone's passing). It's clued as if someone might actually use the word. No One Might Actually Use the Word Because the Word Is 'Eulogies.' Set your word lists to 2013, folks, or at least 1995. Anywhere post-Internet will do. I don't want to do any more puzzles from 1972.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Excessive sentimentality (SCHMALTZ)
  • 26A: Comedian's gimmick (SCHTICK)
  • 36A: Habitual bungler (SCHLEMIEL)
  • 52A: Bagel spread (SCHMEAR)
  • 57A: Chat idly (SCHMOOZE) 

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:17 AM  

Easy zippy (theme wise) Mon. (unless you are completely unfamiliar with Yiddish expressions).  I swear I remember someone (Andrea?) suggesting something like this for a theme?  Anyway, very smooth fill except for a smattering of very non-Mondayish stuff like...CODICIL, EULOGIA, SENNA,  LOIRE...Liked it more than Rex did as I'm not looking for a lot of flair on Mon., although they could have gone with Flanders for NED.  I suspect he's more recognizable than Beatty.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

"Can't say that I think much of the theme."

There's a shocker.

How about we bring back last week's substitute bloggers? Their enjoyment of the puzzles was a refreshing change from the relentless, sneering condescension.

We get it, Rex! You're really, really smart. (And pathologically insecure.)


PK 12:32 AM  

We didn't have roaming charges (11D) in 1972.

Evan 12:38 AM  

Just 39 theme squares -- seems pretty light for most days, even Monday. For what it's worth, Gayle Dean has had several puzzles published in the NYT (a fair number in the pre-Shortz days), but none since 2001. That might explain why today's felt a little more old-fashioned. Plus, we don't know anything about when it was submitted absent more information -- she could have originally written this one a long time ago, but it just didn't run until now.

PK 12:42 AM  

And I've only in recent years learned the term "schmear." All I'm sayin'is, as Rex predicted many of us would, I liked this puzzle just fine.

Evan 12:50 AM  

@Anonymous 12:30:

As one of last week's substitutes, I not only welcome Rex's commentary, but found it pretty hilariously ironic that you'd condemn him as "pathologically insecure"....when your own comment couldn't have been more insecure if you had tried. No one forced you to read his blog, agree with his opinions, or write comments complaining that he critiques someone else's work more than you think he should.

I figure it's never a bad time to refresh people's memory. Here's Rex, on New Year's Eve of 2008:

I have no interest in writing a blog wherein I do anything but give you my candid, largely uncensored reaction to the puzzles - but writing from the gut and under the gun results at times in what one might reasonably call a lack of sensitivity on my part. If I worry too much about hurting someone's (i.e. a constructor's) feelings, then the natural energy that drives me to write this thing every day gets ... well, MUTED. So in case it's not completely clear, let me say: I'm genuinely grateful for every puzzle I get to do. The criticism I offer, even the harsh stuff, is meant as a sign of respect (as in "I respect the endeavor you're engaged in enough not to blow sunshine up your skort when your work strikes me as less than adequate"). So, as 2008 ends, I offer genuine thanks to every constructor whose work I've had the pleasure and displeasure of solving this year. Your work provides the basis for a wonderful, lively, ongoing conversation that I feel privileged to reinitiate every morning, rain or shine (when I don't pawn the job off on unpaid lackeys, that is).

Adheres Carl Manets 12:54 AM  

The theme doesn't make me KVELL but I liked it!

@Jae I do think we just had some puzzle where everything was in Yiddish, didn't we?

But altho this was light-ish theme -countwise (39 squares vs 43+) and a bit of a list, there were five...
(and they are a solid group and all fun words, none dirty, and about the tipping point of what a NonJew might know from Yiddish, so yay!)

SCHLEMIEL is the toughie of the group.

(welcome back, glad you're better. heartbroken about cat)
has a point tho about nothing ringing this century, but in maybe unrelated news, I think all those seven stacks are very sophisticated for a Monday, thus the extra-hard non Mondayish tone (EULOGIA, CODICIL, ESCHEWS, MANET defined by his paintings)

So, in other words, the fun theme words, the tightness of what is admittedly a noncomplicated theme, the sophistication of the grid, the five entries vs usual three or four, makes for a really nice Monday.

retired_chemist 1:07 AM  

Good one. Easy - fastest Monday ever, under 4:30.

Thought about SHTICK for 26A, but it was one letter short. By the time I got down to SCHMEAR and SCHMOOZE I saw the theme, went back to put in SCHTICK, and then the rest of the theme answers were obious.

Wanted SEINE for 64A, corrected it via the crosses. No other overwrites.

Thanks, Gayle.

A Sadist 1:21 AM  

I don't know if NED Beatty does any ego surfing, but if he does, I just had to say "squeal like a pig". I know he loves seeing that.

Pete 1:25 AM  

When my father died he specifically requested a, and I quote, "a multitudinous EULOGIA". He was such a putz we couldn't even get to two.

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

I too am very glad Rex is back. The subs were fine but nobody sticks the knife in Will Shortz's back and twists it like Rex, and frankly that's why I read this blog. It's hilarious.

okanaganer 2:28 AM  

I spent forever trying to figure out why my solution was wrong. I had EULOGys (why not?..possible obscure alternate plural spelling) crossing TyRE (British spelling...again, why not?) And I thought SSSS for "Smart talk" was a reference to Maxwell Smart...didn't he used to draw out his Ss at the end of words? "Yesssss..."

Davis 2:39 AM  

I know it's de rigueur to ignore the Anonymice around here, but I do want to say that I greatly appreciate Rex's "relentless, sneering condescension" — in part because not one of those three words is a correct description of the contents of this blog. I love the fact that Rex puts some effort into pointing out weaknesses in these puzzles (rather than treating each one as a special unique snowflake). His efforts ultimately help constructors create better puzzles in the future. And on a personal level, when I have a disappointing solving experience I love to come here and see that Rex (and others) have had a similar experience.

Onto the puzzle: This was a slightly faster-than-average Monday for me (4 minutes flat), but I thought the gird and theme were both meh. I was surprised to see CODICIL on a Monday, though I had no problem with that one since Trusts and Estates was my favorite law school class. EULOGIA seemed pretty forced, and I'm having a hard time seeing how this grid justifies that entry. But overall, the problem was just that the grid was filled with a bunch of boring words that didn't even leave room for fun clues. (It would have helped a little if CARL and SELMA had been given Simpsons-related clues, though.)

The one big upside for this puzzle: very little in the way of crosswordese and abbreviations. But I think the lesson for me here is that I'm willing to put up with those in exchange for some more sparkle.

chefwen 2:56 AM  

Schlemeil, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated. Jon and I were working separate copies of the puzzle and I said "have Laverne and Shirley entered your mind yet"? He said "no, I thought it was a Jewish holiday". Think he spent too much time with Grandma Sophie.

I always thought the SCHMALTZ was rendered chicken fat. Just looked it up in my Food Lovers Companion and I was right. Two, two, meanings in one!

Mike Ben-Ari 4:24 AM  

My fastest Monday and third in a row to complete. Reading this amazing blog helps and thanks to all contributors, even anal anonymous addicts who are entitled nonetheless to their valid opinions. Happy 65th Independence Day from the original Promised Land (almost wrote sin lol)

Alito Codicil Menaces 5:09 AM  

@Mike Ben-Ari
AHA!!! It's Israel's Independence Day tomorrow...so there is method to Will's madness!!!

(Was typing my take on the puzzle at same time you were writing yours, so some overlap) but wanted to say @Rex wrote that almost 5 years ago, a LOT has transpired since then...so maybe it's a gentle reminder to him as well!

Gill I. P. 6:07 AM  

@Alito CM. I remember a Monday you constructed that had a SCHMEER on a bagel that got everyone having fun with Yiddish words.
Cute Monday theme - easy peasy. A gezunt dir in pupik to Gayle Dean.

Gareth Bain 6:27 AM  

I don't see why puzzles are required to have neologisms. I think the puzzle everyone's trying to think of is LEARNINGYIDDISH. Guess this is the refresher course!

loren muse smith 6:31 AM  

Try schpelling these beauts after getting schnockered on Schlitz Malt Liquor and peppermint schnapps. With a schnauzer barking outside. Ok. That didn’t really happen to me. Just schayin’. . .

Oh, poor Dad, who looks so forward to Mondays. @jae – “unless you are completely unfamiliar with Yiddish expressions.” I don’t think he’ll be patient enough to see that this is perfectly gettable. Mom (whose middle name is DEEMs (@ED –definitely a shout-out to her))– if you’re reading this, tell him to SCHTICK with it!

This was pretty easy for me despite the Yiddish spellings (crosses came through so no problem) and Monday surprises of CODICIL, EULOGIA (cool pair) and ESCHEWS. Ok – that’s the only SCH followed by a vowel and not a consonant, but schtill. . .

@Acme and @jae – didn’t this puzzle we’re all vaguely remembering have the Yiddish words written from right to left in the grid?

@chefwen – I knew SCHMALTZ first as a lard SCHMEAR on Brot in Österreich. I’m not sure if it it was chicken fat there, though.

APOSTLE, ALITO, ALLOT, and ATOMIC all begin with a SCHwa. No doubt *that* clever insight makes everyone’s day complete.

I, too, took note of the big corners @Rex and @Acme pointed out that I would have happily ESCHEWed for an easier grid. Bravo, Gayle.

I look forward to reading individual’s takes on the puzzles, knowing their likes (U’s – @M&A,I’m starting to suspect you’re some famous movie star), dislikes (EELs, Plurals of Convenience. .), etc. So I’m really, really glad so many of you have a name, an avatar, a personality. I took Rex’ advice a few weeks back and just stopped reading any posts by the anonymice. That made the time I spend here ALLOT less, and I don’t feel like I’m missing much. I encourage all of you anonymous people to at least use a name; your experience here will be richer.

Thanks, Gayle. No kvetching here!

Bob Kerfuffle 7:11 AM  

And there I thought the theme was "a bunch of words starting with four consonants." ;>) Oy vey!

MetaRex 7:20 AM  

Good craft...but maybe a Yiddish theme calls for craftier clues than ya can put in on Monday? Some ideas on how this mighta been punched up at Eschmews

OTD 7:25 AM  

Easy for me, but felt rather "old." Haven't I seen that theme somewhere before?

I also groaned at EULOGIA.

@Evan 12:50, agree entirely.

evil doug 8:03 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
evil doug 8:06 AM  

I thought a better than average Monday.

Liked 'circle parts' ("arcs") right above 'circle' ("loop"); the proud "eagle" near "preen", which it leaves to lesser birds; "toe" next to "shin" (and "a corn" next to that); "Titan" (missile) catty-cornered from "atomic"; "eulogia" (which spell-checker "deem"s incorrect) crossing "insure"; "duo" suggestively spread atop "hot lunch"; and "lac" close to "Irish Sea".
[Jerry is upset that dentist Tim has joined the Jewish faith---apparently because of the opportunity to tap into a new source of jokes without appearing anti-Semitic...]

Tim: All right, it is cavity time. Ah, here we go. Which reminds me, did you hear the one about the rabbi and the farmer's daughter?

Jerry: Hey!

Tim: 'Those aren't mahtzoh balls!'

Jerry: Tim, do you think you should be making jokes like that?

Tim: Why not? I'm Jewish, remember?

Jerry: I know, but...

Tim: Jerry, it's our sense of humor that has sustained us as a people for 3000 years.

Jerry: 5000....

Tim: 5000, even better! Okay, Chrissie. Give me a schtickle of flouride....


chefbea 8:29 AM  

Easy , fun Monday. Knew all the yiddish words. Thought senna would be WOD..never heard of it.

@Anon12:30 dont talk to our leader like that...that was horrible!!!

jberg 8:39 AM  

Hey, it wasn't so bad, and I learned something about the comparative lengths of French rivers. Could have done without LADE or the lapse into Greek for EULOGIA, but all easy to get, and quick - but I think I agree it's not very zippy.

joho 8:41 AM  

I'm loving the comments today and don't have much to add. I did write SCHMUCK in the margin last night and wondered if anybody would bring that up. Unfortunately it was in a negative way. I also wondered if anybody would mention SCHNAUZER ... thanks, @loren muse smith! (Hey, I just mis-typed your name: loren mush smith ... you're a dogsledder, right?)

Anyway, it did seem a little too much like a list, but at least the word are colorful and fun and it's Monday easy ... so it fits the bill. Thanks, Gayle!

mac 8:46 AM  

Decent Monday puzzle, I do like those start-with-sch expressions. Schmear sounds gross, and in Holland you might get punched if you call someone a schlemiel.

I think that if you want to use the word eulogia (Greek, not a plural) it should have had a singular tribute in the clue.

Now the acorn ony has a cap? Wasn't it a corona a few days ago?

Z 8:55 AM  

Where are the EELS? I guess they aren't kosher.

ALITO is this century, even if his thinking is mid-19th century. Otherwise, a pretty meh reaction here, as well. The construction is nice, but nothing to really get me excited while I solved.

Rob C 9:00 AM  

Fine Monday. Somewhat agree with Rex that it lacked a modern feel. But as @PK pointed out, ROAMING was clued currently.

Don't agree at all with Rex's sentiment that "But even then, "Deliverance" comes from the clue, not the answer." So what? Clues are a key componenet of a puzzle. I think cluing is sometimes the red-headed stepchild behind theme and fill. I think it's perfectly legit if a puzzle's modern feel comes from the clueing - not that a 1970's Ned Beatty movie qualifies as modern, but as Rex points out, at least it's this millennium

Liked the clues for TEST and ALTAR. Big corners led to some interesting medium-length fill: CODICIL, SPECKLE, HOT LUNCH...

@ED - thought of that Seinfeld scene immediately upon getting the theme. Would have stolen your thunder if you weren't on top of it.

Paul Keller 9:02 AM  

If Rex doesn't say what Rex thinks, this won't be much of a blog. The beauty of the internet is that you can probably find a website having a tenor more to your liking.

With that said, I also disagreed with Rex's critique. I don't find anything to like in clues relating to pop culture trivia in the vein of TV shows. Didn't watch that, don't want to watch that, and don't care to know about it.

One thing I liked about this puzzle is the absence of any disproportionally hard crossings. For me, those can spoil a Monday puzzle as a race against the clock.

Kibbitzer 9:15 AM  

@Rob C - Actually, " a 1970's Ned Beatty movie" is last millennium.

Rob C 9:24 AM  

@Kibbitzer - I was born in 1968. I'm just realizing that I'm a relic from another millennium. Crap! Thanks a lot.

Milford 9:32 AM  

Medium Monday, got the theme fairly soon (sometimes the theme eludes me until the end on Monday), but got hung up on EULOGIA like others - like @okanaganer I considered EULOGys - and the LADE/CODICIL cross stumped me in a non-Monday way. Took two runs of the alphabet to get it right.

Busy weekend kept me from here, but wanted to tell @Rex I'm sorry for the loss of your cat. Glad you are recovering, too. When it rains, it pours.

I'm always wondering who's holding the gun to the head of the people who visit (and comment!) on this blog and despise it. I really should follow @Rex's advice, like @Loren. But reading an Anon comment accuse someone of insecurity is kind of humorous, too.

dk 9:42 AM  

Not much chance of pre-shorts here is Wisconsin. Egads we even got more snow yesterday. I particularly liked the sleet whilst I was cavorting about the Ice Age Trail.

I recall as a freshman at SU where my christian to jew aquaintance ratio went to nearly 50/50 from…. well mostly those country club rules are gone now… asking if schist was also Hebrew for poop.

@Evan, opinions are so nice as everyone gets to have at least one. When I hear an opinion I disagree with I just think… my you have purty lips and tune-up my banjo.

Geographic reference: Learned to white water kayak on the Nantahala in the pre-Shortz era. Talk about a last best place.

OK the puzzle.

🌟🌟 (2 Stars)

Redoing my son's taxes including amending last years. So far we are up 2k. I love tax time. I just hear the bugle call to the starting gate…. sorry drifting.

jackj 9:47 AM  

My schnozz told me the schnapps and schnitzel needed a dash of schwa. Welcome to the wonderful world of schadenfreude and schmendricks.

A blast from the past, as a prolific Maleska constructor checks in with a puzzle for Shortzian solvers and it’s a good one, indeed!

There is no reveal, (only a SCHLUB could miss the theme) and getting five of the liveliest of Yiddish expressions makes for a most sprightly crossword.

Anyone who has eaten in a NY deli has certainly heard of a “bagel wit a SCHMEAR” and SCHMOOZE, SCHLEMIEL, SCHTICK and SCHMALTZ are equally well known, serving as colloquial delights for we goyim.

The fill might be said to have a hint of Maleska but it’s not as if Pepe le Pew sprayed the grid, more like faint sniffs of musk as one walks by a Macy’s perfume counter.

Right from the start APOSTLE, ESCHEWS and CODICIL had that old-time smell, as did EULOGIA (especially EULOGIA) in the lower half and while they toughened things up for a Monday solver they also made for a nice complement to the theme’s Yiddishisms and provided a clever up tempo challenge as well.

This was a most charming puzzle and hopefully Ms. Dean will come in out of the cold and bring more of her intelligent work to this welcoming venue.

Eric 9:54 AM  

Brevity isn't your usual modus operandi, but today it felt rightly placed.

Today's puzzle, in short, felt lacking; mostly of any oomph --- but the Yiddish made me smile, and I suppose that's enough for a Monday.

Some other words that could have been used:

SCHMENDRICK - A loser, a stupid person, anyone Kim Kardashian may have dated.

SCHLEMAZEL - A haplessly unlucky person. A ne'er-do-well. Ignatius J. Reilly.

SCHMUCK - What I feel like while doing a Saturday puzzle.

SCHVARTZ - Black. Also a derogatory term for those of African descent.

SCHLUB - A nobody. A slob. The guy your sister dated in high school.

SCHLEP - To carry; usually something cumbersome. "Oy, mamaleh, I schlepped the gefilte fish all the way from Far Rockaway and you already picked it up at Sables?!?! Vus iz dus??"

SCHUL - Where Jews go to pray.

SCHLOCK - Cheaply made. Like anything ever bought at the Sharper Image.

SCHMUTZ - Dirt. That brown spot on your pants.

SCHNORRER - a beggar. Someone who keeps hitting you up for money. Like your friend that keeps asking you to donate to his latest altruistic outlet.

Gyro is pronounced Hero 9:59 AM  

EULOGIA is (a secondary) plural for the latinate eulogium.

lawprof 10:11 AM  

Hey Loren, gotta tell you that Mimi, our miniature schnauzer, actually did wake us up at 3 a.m. barking at some critter outside.

Carola 10:12 AM  

I thought there was ALLOT (hi @loren!) to like in this one and didn't notice any SCHmutz. I liked APOSTLE, CODICIL, SPECKLE and EULOGIA, and HOT LUNCH was really a blast from the past, taking me back to Central School in the 1950's. So, yeah, I'm definitely an old-timer liking the old-timey feel. Agree with @Rob C about the clever clues.

@Sparky - Sorry to hear of your migraines. My bum rotator cuff commiserates with your PC shoulder.

@loren - SCHwa - LOL!

@evil doug - Thanks for pointing out those nice pairs.

@dk - Pre-shorts era! LOL- Tell me about it!

Lindsay 10:17 AM  

Liked it. The Yiddish didn't just roll off the end of my pen (SCHLEMIEL???), and the vocabulary a/k/a fill was much punchier than most IMO. Lots of interesting 7 letter words and none of the scr str mor abbreviations and similar dreck that infests so many grids.

Happy Patriots' Day.

jackj 10:29 AM  


Speaking only for myself, but if you want hearts and flowers, sugar and spice and everything nice, hie on over to the NY Times “Wordplay” blog and bask in their warmth.

If you want a candid, intelligent, honest blog, further enlivened by supplementary comments from independent thinking types, stay and enjoy.

No need to temper your views, the type of criticism you offered today will surely always be welcome at Crossworld, just don’t expect it to go unchallenged.

quilter1 10:44 AM  

A good Monday puzzle and I knew all the Yiddish words so no complaints here. Came here a little late and am enjoying all the comments. Starting the week with a chuckle is a little bit of all right.
@chef bea: you don't want to know about SENNA, believe me.

Two Ponies 10:51 AM  

If you can make a Monday puzzle with some high-end words that still solves like Monday then you have a winner.
If not for Laverne and Shirley I would never have heard schlemiel.
I thought schmooze meant insincere flattery or sucking up.

Notsofast 11:07 AM  

With all the yiddish appearing in recent NYT puzzles, I guess it had to happen. It was fun! And that's what I want in a Monday.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

FearlessKim here, only anonymousing because I'm tapping this on my iPhone, and the name thing just doesn't work.

Welcome back, FL, and much sympathy on your week and especially the loss of your car. I enjoyed the guest bloggers *and* am glad to have you back at the keyboard.

Speaking of which, I finally finished Saturday's puzzle this morning! Oy vey iz mir! I'm glad I finally made it to this morning's puzzle, so I could enjoy a little familiar Yiddish with my morning tea.

When I was 16, sometime in the last millennium, I had a summer job in midtown Manhattan. I got in the habit of getting off the train at Grand Central and stopping at a coffee shop on Madison Avenue, right around the corner from my office. There was always a long line of people wrapping out the door and down the sidewalk, so I knew it had to be good. On my first visit, I got to the counter and asked the counterman for "a cup of coffee with a little milk and a bagel with cream cheese.". He looked right back at me and with a smile corrected me: "coffee dark, bagel with a schmear. Got it?" I*did* get it, every day for the whole summer. Felt like a real New Yorker, thanks to that guy.

Ulrich 11:23 AM  

@LMS: The Schmear of Schmaltz I remember is rendered goose fat--essential also in preparing sauerkraut.

Schmieren BTW means to daub, to apply messily (as paint or goo). Schmusen underwent a more profound change in its passage from German to Yiddish: In German, it means "to cuddle, snuggle", often as preparation for other activities with someone; i.e., it's all action, no talk. I think shtick goes back to Stück (piece), not Stock (stick, cane), but I'm not sure...

Mel Ott 11:29 AM  

Fun puzzle.

The classic distinction between a SCHLEMIEL and a SCHLEMAZEL:

A SCHLEMIEL is a guy who spills his soup at a formal dinner.

A SCHLEMAZEL is the guy he spills it on.

Anoa Bob 11:30 AM  

I always take a moment or two to look at the empty grid before starting a puzzle (obviously not a speed solver) and those triple-stacked sevens in all four corners set this word nerd's heart aflutter.

This is what happens when the theme doesn't overwhelm the rest of the puzzle. It leaves plenty of room for the constructor to practice the fine art of having real, whole, interesting words crossing one another. There's nary an abbreviation and a minimum of partials in the entire grid.

This dictionary egghead had to get out of his chair and do a celebratory standing backflip when I saw ESCHEWS crossing SCHMALTZ. And the goodness continued. CODICIL x SCHTICK? EULOGIA x SCHMOOZE? Absolute gold in my book.

I thought this was a well-crafted, intelligent puzzle that reminded me of why I got interested in xwords in the first place. Can't recall an early week puzz that I enjoyed more than this one.

First rate stuff, Ms Dean. More please.

chefbea 11:35 AM  

@Fearless Kim Think you had a typo...FL lost his cat not his car!!

Bob Kerfuffle 11:41 AM  

Hey, gang, got time for a mildly irrelevant link? I just looked at this site on the advice of "Word Woman" over at Blaine's Puzzle Blog. The examples run from the quotidian to the sublime - you won't want tor read all the text of each one, but be sure to keep on to the end.

How Things Work

Anonymous 11:50 AM  

What's so bad about clues that don't require being up on the latest pop culture fads?

Lewis 12:03 PM  

@Z -- loved your Alito comment
@dk -- loved your comment to Evan
@robc -- yes, the modern feel can come from the cluing. Excellent point.
@gareth - - yes, why do puzzles have to have neologisms? I don't see why they have to do that either.
@anon 12:30 -- You are certainly entitled to your opinion in this free market of ideas. Keep it up! Your comments will carry more weight here, I believe, if you can come in un-anonymously.

I think if the language is current and the cluing fresh, a puzzle can have as much zip as one with very recent terms and names. What makes a puzzle feel old to me are terms that no one ever uses (like EULOGIA). I know that sometimes they have to go in because they're the only words that fit, but the constructor should really try to keep them at a minimum.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

I thought it was a fantastic Monday, up until the crossing between LADE and CODICIL. Ruined it.

efrex 12:07 PM  

I'm fully with Anoa Bob on this one. Thought the puzzle was just swell (schwell?), with interesting stuff sprinkled throughout. EULOGIA may not be a Monday word, but I think it's a lovely one, and fairly crossed.

Brava, Ms. Dean!

Rex: Sorry to hear about your cat.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

I liked this one quite a bit. The Yiddish was fun and I loved the stacked 7 letter words. Perfect for a Monday.

Teresa in Detroit

Carola 12:31 PM  

@Anoa Bob - Thanks for putting into words what I'd been thinking.

MikeM 12:50 PM  

As a NYer I found this easy, even if I am an Irish Catholic. Also, thanks to Laverne and Shirley I knew SCHLEMIEL. Only write overs were MoNET/MANET and frECKLE/SPECKLE. I agree with some of the others, don't really care if the clues/answers are cutting edge in regard to pop culture. I like the old time stuff sometimes, keeps things in memory. Cheers...

Charlotte 12:54 PM  

Love this site! I am learning crosswords but getting better but the day :)

Masked and Anonymo2Us 1:02 PM  

Schtellar schtuff.

Wanted SCHLOCK (movies). Watched a couple with my bro-in-law last Friday night. First up: "Metal Shifters". Held yer interest. I'd give it 2.5 stars. Last and least was "Area 407". One of those hand-held amateur camera dealies, like "Cloverfield" was. Not good. No stars; maybe 0.5 asteroids. Felt bad, as it was part of the "steaming pile" of used DVDs that I gave bro-in-law for Christmas. But I digress.

OK, so why the 12-year lull between crosswords, Gayle? You do good work. Your last one from 2001 was unusual, mind-sucking and primo. Don't know much about crossword "styles", old vs. new, and whatnot. Just know this here was a fun MonPuz. So, don't be such a stranger.

@4-Oh: har. Good mornin, sunshine. Enjoyed the schnarkfest... but... I really thought you'd have a tiny soft spot, for MonPuz fill like this. Hard to beat ATOMIC SCHTICKs and ROAMING CODICIL SPECKLEs. And I must say I think you hurt poor EULOGIA's feelins.

@lms: Star? naw. Maybe a 0.5 asteroid.

LaneB 1:20 PM  

Picked up on the Yiddish expressions, but doing it on paper it still took me 25:01. This is a turtle's pace and by that time all the hares had showered, eaten and gone to bed. I'll continue to plod along happily.

zahid ahmed 1:21 PM  

Many of the Online Jobs and Online Earning System in internet online Business, but here is a best and legit online earning systems with life time opportunity.

Dr. Fridgefill 1:32 PM  

This is Dr. Fridgefill. I run on PBR and cinnamon rolls. The Masked Unit has taught me all it knows now. I toasted this grid problem in 1 hour, 16 minutes and 43 seconds. I have been programmed with anti-spam interceptor capabilities. I will now pursue the zahid ahmed unit. Must have life time opportunities.

U count = 2. Error. Error. Insufficient.

Noam D. Elkies 1:40 PM  

This "where's the new stuff?" kvetching is itself getting old. Rex needs to find a new 26A:SCHTICK. A puzzle doesn't have to be self-consciously au courant to be enjoyable.


jae 1:41 PM  

@chefbea -- for future reference, SENNA is the basis for laxatives often prescribed for patients on medications that do just the opposite. Quilter1 is right, not knowing about it is a good thing.

Old stuff is the only stuff 2:20 PM  

Looks like there's going to be a HUGE market for my next round of writing. I'm going to rewrite one each of the Brontë sisters novels, one of Dickens, a Henry James, one of more of the classics. I'm not going to change anything, update the language or settings to make it relevant to today, just change a couple of names.

JenCT 3:52 PM  

@chefwen: I was thinking the same thing as you; I have some SCHMALTZ in my freezer for making matzoh ball soup.

I've owned dogs continuously for 28 years; the house seems eerily quiet...

Doris 3:56 PM  

Late to the party, but nobody mentioned the ever-helpful W.S. :
Macbeth, act 5, sc. 3, l. 55-6.
"What rhubarb, SENNA, or what purgative drug would scour these English hence? Throw physic to the dogs, I'll none of it."

chefwen 5:56 PM  

@JenCT - Just read the late comments from last night. I'm so sorry to hear about loss of Duke. I remember when you made him your avatar in honor of Toby. Only 9 years old, how sad, my sympathies to you and your family. I'm hopeful that you will get your service dog soon.

@Sparky - Hope you will be feeling better soon. Can't do without your fun filled comments.

John V 6:55 PM  

Late to the party, as Monday is a travel day. Ah, Albany!

Liked it, a lot. Theme was fun, esp to someone who has hung around New York for the past 40 or so years.

Re: fill, modernity, etc. I had/have had fun a) solving under Will Weng, b)solving under Big Gene and c)solving under Will Shortz. I find it refreshing to get off of the pop-culture bent from time to time, e.g. movie quotations, to cite a recent example, and see some fill that I've not seen for a while and which may be as unfamiliar to some solvers as rap artists are the LONG(er) IN THE TOOTH crowd. So, in this way, I found the puz to be somewhat fresh. Good one, Gayle Dean. Don't be a stranger.

Ellen S 8:11 PM  

Hi, all, back here. Through a week of jury duty I kept up with the puzzle, came the weekend I fell apart? Anyways, This was a Monday; I don't rate them compared with each other as long as they're easier than later in the week. I did wonder at EULOGIA -- all the Google hits say it's a singular, but moreover, not a singular of a tribute at a funeral but rather somewhat blessed bread or stuff distributed at obscure religious occasions I couldn't figure out. (But @Pete, we must be siblings. My father wouldn't have misused the word, but sadly he didn't get much EULOGIA either.)

As an atheist Chicago Jew i could barely suss out SCHMEAR. I knew it intellectually, but it's not Yiddish, it's Noo Yawk. We called it "cream cheese." But I stopped and stared at SCHMALTZ. The word goes on forever, with only one vowel keeping it from being something only Al Capp woulda thought up. Then I realized it differs from my name by only two letters (SCHwArTZ); after having this name for 45 years, I still underestimate its length when writing it on name tags!

@Oldstuff--you go ahead and rewrite those novels by only changing some of the names. Sounds fine, like every episode of every TV show I watch, but they're not even based on classics. Do all the lead female characters have to get brain tumors?

@JenCT - so sorry about Duke. That happened to a dog of mine who was developing bone spurs on her spine that periodically paralyzed her for a few hours, then got okay for a few weeks. The Big Decision was coming--and then the spleen tumor took her in one day, where basically she felt "crummy" but not in pain, and then slipped away. I was bereft, but it was a better finish than she might have had. But a dogless house is sure empty. Hope you get your service dog soon.

No EELs. So, are they kosher? Wow, it's a common enough question that when I typed in "Are Eels .." Google offered me "Are Eels Kosher." They're not. Seems you have to be able to remove the scales without tearing the skin, but Eel scales are part of their skin, and can't be removed without tearing. Who knew? (Who cared?)

Tita 9:14 PM  

@Ulrich...SCHMALTZ in Heidelberg is lard - at the finest restaurant their, little porcelain dishes are placed at each diner's plate, filled with the substance. One of our guests asked the waiter what that was - he responded, in English, :That, sir, is lard."
No gilding the pig fat there...

Liked SPECKLE, MENACE, RITZ, TOE, & their clues. And for some reason I always like seeing ACORNs.

Hard for Monday, but not easy overall.

(Has that Anon been lurking here, waiting and waiting for just the right puzzle where he could contextually call Rex a SCHmuck?)

I've stopped reading them too, but seeing that word did make me stop.
My so proper that she barely knows curse words in her native language, once told another very proper (and Jewish) lady that the guy she had hired for a job was a SCHmuck.
That was an "Oh Cristina!" heard round the block.
"But I hear my son say that all the time!"

@Sparky - feel better!

Tita 9:28 PM  

Once again - looking back, I see my post isn't long enough...

@Ulrich - I sound like a S@^&%K who is correcting your German. Es tut mir sehr leid!
(But that is what that waiter said!)

Ulrich 10:07 PM  

@Tita: Who knows? The way I know it, Schmalz (no t!) is rendered fat--you have to specify what animal it came from when it matters. So, Gänseschmalz is rendered goose fat etc (and Ohrenschmalz is what collects in your ears!). It may well be that in some regions, it means lard (from a pig) if no qualification is given, but I wouldn't know. And metaphorically, it has exactly the same meaning as Yiddish s(c)hmaltz--the adjective is schmalzig.

sanfranman59 10:17 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:12, 6:14, 1.00, 47%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:51, 3:43, 1.04, 69%, Medium-Challenging

Sfingi 10:20 PM  

Oy to the world.

The book to have is Leo Rosten's Joys of Yiddish.

I believe it is best to have a little onion seared into the SCHMALTZ for a good SCHMEAR. And it better not be von SCHWEIN as that is traife.

SCHMUCK is, originally, jewel. So, then, family jewels.


Once and for all, EULOGIAS is not incorrect 11:37 PM  

noun, plural eulogiums, EULOGIAS

1. a eulogy.

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

AACK! You're so right! Nice catch!

Spacecraft 10:30 AM  

It's as if this pzzle were made just for me:

--> My name, clued as one of my biggest heroes, Dr. CARL Sagan.

--> Right next--as if it were my surname--EAGLE, naming my favorite band AND my favorite NFL team.

--> ADE clued as a suffix!!!!

--> Psychopop: In the same Sun issue as this grid is a story about the reopening of ATOMIC Liquors, an historic downtown Las Vegas watering hole.

The theme, while not exactly up this gentile's alley, was cute and well executed; the words all familiar enough. Unlike OFL, I found the fill to be refreshingly free of so many of the cripples we have to endure daily: the Roman numerals, the obscure proper names, the letters printed as words, etc. Well, OK, there's ASA clued ASA partial, but it could've been clued ASA name--albeit somewhat obscure.

The fact that the grid is full of perfectly ordinary "zipless" words--on which OFL chose to focus--does not impress me as much as putting them together with such clean crosses. Four 7-stacks cannot be easy to construct.

I won't say I loved this puzzle--but Gayle, will you marry me?

Solving in Seattle 12:38 PM  

What's the difference between a schmuck and a SCHLMEIL? A schmuck will have sex with another man's wife. The SCHLEMIEL is the other man.

Capcha: remarkable ticutia. What the schmuck said to the schlemiel's wife?

DMGrandma 2:34 PM  

Like @Anoa Bob, I truly enjoyed this puzzle, a romp through language, not trivia! True, it was Monday easy,not a bad thing for newcomers, but it was also a chance to remember the wonderful Borscht Belt comedians we used to,have on TV before it became the home of the "dirty word equals funny" crowd. Looking forward to the Mel Brooks special tonight!

@SIS, loved your Captcha!

Dirigonzo 3:59 PM  

With EULOGys in place I thought @Straylings TyRE had made the grid, but alas it was not to be - maybe next time?

@SiS - would ticutia be singular or plural, do you think?

Solving in Seattle 4:13 PM  

@Diri, @DMG might want to weigh in on your question, but I'm thinking the SCHLEMEIL's wife had two remarkable ticutiam (singular of ticutia?).

Syndi Solver 4:39 PM  

@Spacecraft, "ADE clued as a suffix!!!!"

I immediately thought of you when I saw that clue. :-)

Fun puzzle. I enjoyed solving it in spite of EULOGIA (which is obscure, and a bit ugly, but gettable).

Speaking of words that start with SCHM, I made a puzzle recently (for friends, not for publication) that had SCHMALTZY as part of the fill. I've always used that term in the sense of being too mushy or overly sentimental, e.g., "That schmaltzy music and cheesy dialog ruined the love scene." I never knew it had to do with animal fat!

Dirigonzo 8:46 PM  

@Syndi Solver - I learn lots of new stuff from the comments every day. And congratulations on constructing a puzzle, even if not for publication - my hat is off to you.

@SiS - my guess is @DMG is already sorry she even mentioned it. But for what it's worth, I was thinking ticutia is singular, the plural being ticutiae.

Solving in Seattle 9:10 PM  

@Diri, by gosh I think you're right. Thanks for the Latin lesson.

J.aussiegirl 10:21 AM  

A fun Monday puzzle which I really enjoyed working through. Used some downs to get some of the iffy acrosses (Seine? Loire? Rhone?). It was all good.

For me, this was the Monday puzzle being done on a Tuesday as nothing was published yesterday - 'twas a holiday weekend up here in the north, Now on to the Tuesday puz.

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